Comment to be tagged. Please tell me what you think; i worked really hard on this chapter(:
“There is a portal in the closet,” she tugged her head to a white door behind her.
“I-is that always there?”
“No, but I had a feeling you were in need of it…” She trailed off, barely paying attention to me.
“How does it work?”
“The setting up process is a bit more difficult, but since I did that for you, just imagine where you are going and step in,”
“Umm…thank you?” I hesitantly opened the closet door expecting to find clothes and an explanation to her practical joke, but light flew out of the room in blinding rays and before I could even close the door, I felt myself slipping away. I quickly imagined the beach and when I peeked through my fingers and into the shining light, I was amazed to see the ocean waving to me.
I opened both of my eyes and slowly, I began to feel like I was truly here. I saw the beautiful water and sand, then heard the crashing of waves and then lastly I felt sand beginning to seep in between my toes. Lastly, the sun blinded me and created a sense of warmth in me. It felt like I was home. The sun was already setting and I knew I did have much longer until the beach grew dark so I spun on my heels and made my way to the beach house.
The inside still remained how I last remembered it. Apollo’s ‘Kiss The Cook’ apron was still lounging on the kitchen counter next to a clean dish. My memory of him wearing it last soured as I realized I escaped Mount Olympus to forget about him, not think about him every waking moment. I quickly stuffed the apron into the clean dish and stored it in one of the empty cabinets in across from the island. There. Out of sight, out of mind.
I made my way around the large living space. There was something so different here than Zeus’s home. Not just because his house was supposed to be elegant and rich in flavor and life…but his house seemed so wasted and unused. Everything here had a purpose. There wasn’t a TV. in the living room just because…we watched it, too. Down to the book lying on the coffee table held use. Everything had a purpose and it was still lavish to live here. I didn’t quite understand why the king and queen of Gods had to be like that.
I easily lost my train of thought as I entered one of my most favorite rooms: my closet. I spun from rack to rack across the large room trying to find something comfortable. After finding little, I settled for a light denim button up shorts that came up past my belly button.
I felt odd maneuvering in my white anklet socks to the giant mirror and staring at my reflection. With the shirt tucked into my shorts, I felt kind of itchy. But after leaving the room, the stretchy fabric felt like athletic shorts and it actually was easier for the shirt to be tucked in because I didn’t have to worry about rearranging it to look nice. After all, it was the best pick besides one of the many ball gowns in my collection. I was good at picking my outfit out before I even knew it.
I knew the next place I needed to be.
I sat in the huge room feeling so divine. The glossy floors almost sparkled in the dim light and the windows glistened a beautiful pattern on to the floor in front of it. Even without the people, the music, or even the chandeliers on….this place was breathtaking.
I don’t know why I loved this place so much. It didn’t even make sense because in all of my life as Alice Harper, 16 year old with a missing best friend –I gulped that last part down, trying to forget- I was never graced with the magic of dancing. I couldn’t do any of that to save my life. I remember once that Apollo told me I loved to hold balls and parties, but I still feel like that’s a part of me I may never find again. I sigh in contentment as I watch the sun set through the large, lean windows. Finally, the room became quiet and dark. I lie down on the sleek wooden floor and try to imagine this place come back to life.
A familiar memory finds me again.
Apollo and I are both here. The windows are dark and the room around us is crawling with people. A silky purple fabric had been wrapped around me decoratively and matching colored teeny flower buds had been strategically placed in my hairdo to resemble a crown. We were dancing…or maybe waltzing…I wasn’t for sure. But I was graceful, maybe even more than him. He was wearing a creamy white toga and brown sandals. His hair curled a bit at the ends and my fingers on his neck were dewing with sweat. It was hot in here. He cocked his head to whisper something. I studied his taut muscles in his neck as he spoke.
“This is going well,” He said in Greek, but I understood perfectly.
“As always, Apollo,” I smiled a hostess smile as we passed another waltzing couple skirting around us.
“The date is coming,” He warned so low in my ear, I had to make sure I wasn’t just hearing faint whispers.
“I’d rather live life than cower from it,” I answered in a persistent tone.
“I understand your outlook on it, but on the other hand I am a bit apprehensive,”
“Let’s not discuss my matters here; there is no reason to worry others…”
“I could care less where we are, Ser. In less than one week you are going to be dead and everyone will be worried. Especially when they find out you knew it was coming,” His voice is quivering and pain rises in my throat as I try to choke down my need to comfort him with silly words I don’t mean.
“Apollo,” We stopped dancing but neither of us or surrounding guest even notice. “There is nothing I can do but hope to see you and Aison again…”
He cringed when I said Aison, but he began started to talk. “I can’t lose you…I- I don’t know what I’ll do…”
My small hands wound his steamy hair around my finger tips and I placed a delicate kiss on his cheek. My left hand, which was placed in his larger one, gripped his and I stood up and began to move through the crowd and towards the door with him in tow.
Before I could investigate I arose to a weird sort of clanging. My eyes drifted open regretfully to an empty ballroom and feint light. It had only been a few hours but I was already missing Apollo’s warm presence, whether he was fuming at me or not…he was still there.
It had to be somewhere around seven, if I had to guess. I drowsily rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and stumbled up to a standing position. I leaned against the door in surprise. The metal-on-metal sound was impossible not to hear. I slowly opened the door and silently thanked God –Or Gods…I guess- that the door didn’t make a noise.
The possibility that it was Apollo and not some stranger in the kitchen was slight because I knew even in his anger he would have taken me to the bed or he would have been sleeping next to me on the uncomfortable blonde wood dancing floor.
I cautiously crossed the house, not sure of my escape plan was if this was some killer or Olivia herself. My heart raced and beat in strange thumpings as I became closer and closer to the noise. Whoever it was, they were in the kitchen. I held my breath as I rounded the last wall and came face to face with the intruder.
She had a very eager look appear on her face as her deep brown eyes met with my blue ones. “Serenadia!” She screamed. Her long natural blonde hair bounced as she skipped towards me. She hugged me tightly.
“They told me you had left again, but I knew better.”
“Umm, who are you?” She stopped her breathing for a moment before retracting from the snug embrace.
“Oh dear. So sorry. I know my actions may have seemed rash but we were something of what you would call bffs way back when,” She said with an endearing smile and a flip of her long hair.
“I see,” I gulped “So you aren’t trying to kill me or anything?”
“Oh course not! I guess I should introduce myself then. I’m Hestia, Goddess of the hearth, etcetera.” She flipped her hand with the last word like it didn’t even matter.
“Nice to meet you…again,” I smiled and she giggled. “ I can see why I had you as a good friend.”
“Why?” She turned her head in question.
“You just seem so different from the rest of the people I’ve met. You don’t hold your power above my head like most people do,” I blushed a little at my realization. She seemed more pure as well. I only knew her for two minutes and I’m already more comfortable with her than I was with Hera or even Hermes. Calypso was similar to Hestia in the sense of the way they held themselves.
“I don’t know why they would do that considering you’re more powerful than almost anyone,” She encouraged.
“I don’t see that but thanks for the compliment,” My eyes met hers again and she looked behind her.
“So I figured you would need some breakfast so I’m cooking up your favorite.”
My eyes finally scanned the room. Pots and pans rested across any table and counter space.
“Oh, I had some trouble finding what I needed. You guys should keep this place better stocked!” She spun around and continued to clank things together as she cooked. I jumped up into one of the seats at the island and watched for a little bit until her cooking was boring me to death so I excused myself to change my clothes.
I hopped off the stool and passed the living room before entering a hallway. The hall split into two branches. I took the right and made my way into the beautiful bedroom. The closet on my left was calling to me. Strangely, I found a comfy sweat outfit in a drawer I could have sworn had nothing but frilly things yesterday. I changed swiftly but lingered in the closet as I noticed a door behind a row of poofy dresses.
I hesitantly pushed it open to reveal a room a little bigger than my closet.
It wasn’t very interesting, with the rooms wall painted light beige. A desk was situated in the corner with a large laptop sitting dust free. There were a few pictures on the wall of people I semi-knew and bins of filed paper were stacked everywhere. My fingertips ran through a few papers in one of the bins but none of the names or words was even legible. It must be in Greek.
“Serenadia?!” I jumped, causing the stack of boxes of paper behind me to tumble over. “The foods done.”
Hestia’s voice echoed through the house. I had to get out of here before she found me. I made a mental note to clean up the mess I made later and quietly shut the door behind me as I shuffled out of the closet.
“This is absolutely delicious,” I mumbled with chewed up food in my mouth. Hestia beamed in response. The first round she brought me a cheese omelet with fresh tomatoes, graded cheese, and a weird spice I couldn’t quite put a name on. She placed two buttered up strawberry muffins with cream cheese icing awaiting for my eager bite in the middle and fresh kiwis and diced pineapple drizzled with honey on another plate next to the omelet. In the second round she delivered to me a thick tan waffle drizzled and soaked in syrup the size of my entire plate and a stack of flapjacks. I didn’t know how to turn down on the delicious food without disappointing Hestia, so I sucked it up and stuffed my stomach full until I was sure I couldn’t even suck in air without fear of my belly bursting.
The satisfied face of Hestia was enough to keep me from rolling up in a ball and crying for the pain in my stomach until after she was gone. But surprisingly, after we had said our goodbyes, my stomach felt absolutely nothing. I wasn’t sure when it happened. Maybe when she left it stopped or in between our meaningless conversations…but I felt absolutely fine. A little sleepy, but fine.
I wrapped a warm fuzzy green blanket that smelled just like Apollo around me and shuffled back into the secret closet room.
While stacking each paper back up into the tall towers where I thought they belonged, I preoccupied my mind with the oracle’s words. I wish I had brought the paper with me. I could hardly muster the first sentence under my breath. Thinking about it flushed back all my old memories that I usually forgot when I was here. Like how I still had that paper due to Mr. Bronx. And the fact I still had to somehow find a way to stop the sirens from brutally killing anyone and everyone within a 30 mile radius. Also how I needed to defeat Olivia and save Eric. There were so many things on my to-do list and surprisingly, I had no idea how to complete any of these tasks. You would think finishing an English paper would be easier than protecting my only friend but apparently not, because I was getting more work done with Eric than my essay.
I gripped the blanket tighter as I quietly shut the door and reminded myself that when I got back to my house, I was gonna share the fate poem to Apollo.
“Serenadia?!” There was a slam and frantic steps as the even more desperate voice repeated my name.
I had to swallow back my nervousness before I answered, “In here,” Grimly.
The pounding steps took off in a run and thudded louder and louder until he was standing right in front of me, half of the doorway blocking his beautiful body. He ran his shaky tan fingers through his flattened hair and took a nervous step forward. My eyes watched his blue icy ones take me in and his soft pink lips flicked up into a smile before he grimaced. “What the hell were you thinking?”
I fiddled my hands as he spoke, not knowing what to do with them. “I-I don’t know.” For some reason, I was expecting somewhat of a warmer first words from him. Something along the lines of “I’m sorry,” or “I missed you so much…” Instead he made me feel like an idiot.
“Here you are being hunted by evil titans who want to ultimately destroy your existence and you just run away?”
“Hey! But look I’m still alive…” I meant it to sound funny but it came out flat and shaky.
“Thank Gods, Ser. You could have been killed. You had no protection. You can’t just run whenever life gets tough. Don’t you know that by now?”
I wanted to tell him I had Hestia but I felt like that would only make him angrier. “I-I…” I didn’t know how to respond so I walked past him, managed to nudge his shoulder, and made my way out to the beach. Why was he treating me like this? He was acting like a complete jerk.
My feet sunk in the sand as I made my way to a palm tree to sit. I leaned against it and faced the water. I became mesmerized with each wave. It was obvious that I was trying to get over Apollo’s words but sitting here with the breeze and sun swaying me, I could have cared less.
I drifted off to sleep before I could stop myself.
At first, all I could hear was whimpering. But then I saw him, Apollo. His face was buried in his large and scarred hands. Next to him sat Hestia who visually wasn’t crying but every movement or word she said was on the verge of tears. Apollo’s elbows were propped up on his knees and his words came out muffled as he began to mumble.
“It just came too fast,” Hestia replied in shock.
“I-I didn’t even have time to tell her goodbye or that I loved her and now she’s gone forever,” slowly, Apollo dragged his fingers down his face, revealing reddened skin with cuts going across his eyebrow and another longer one on his opposite cheek. He had fought for me. His blue-grey eyes stared straight past me in deep depression.
“She knew that you loved her,” she sniffled.
“It doesn’t matter, she was painfully dying and I didn’t get to her in time. She died alone. I wasn’t there to save her or help her,” his agony appeared on his face and in his words. His usual chipper self was completely gone. And it saddened me to watch him like this.
“You have to stay strong, for Aison.”
His eyes studied the floor before breaking out into a round of hysterics. I had never seen a man cry, but after watching tears flood his face and his quivering wails, I knew why I never had. It was exceptionally heartbreaking. And all I could do was silently watch his body cringe and his face pinch up as tear after tear ran down his face.
After watching two more rounds of crying, in which Hestia tried to calm him and Apollo carelessly swatting away her comforting hands, the flashback ended.
I straightened up against the rough palm tree in panic. It was slightly sticky outside and the sun was already setting. I stood up, looking for Apollo. He was nowhere in sight. “Apollo?!” I cried out as I began to race down the beach. Muddy, wet sand caked in between my toes. I hastily called for his name again as I ran up to the house. The dry sand stuck to my wet feet and flew behind me as I reached the door. “Apollo!” I called again with tears trailing down my face.
He thought I was gone forever. He didn’t know I would find him again or even if I would ever be alive. How could I blame him for trying to cope with the whole ordeal of losing the love of his life? I left him to raise Aison, who I assume was our son. How could I hurt him like this again? For what I did to him, I should always be punished. It was never his fault. For everything I did, he didn’t deserve to be with me.
“Ser, you okay?” I heard him call from the bedroom.
I slammed the glass door and sprinted even faster. Sand exfoliated my feet as they hit the wooded floors.
My body banged into his and I pinned him to the hallway.
“I’m so sorry,” I cried. Before he could respond my lips forced themselves on to his. I was anticipating for him to end the kiss, obviously still mad but he didn’t.
My eyes fluttered closed and I gripped his neck. His arms hugged me around the waist, bringing me even closer to him. His lips kissed me again and again, each one a bit more urgent than before. I twirled his hair in my fingers and smiled as he placed kisses along my neck and across my collar bone. All of our pent up passion was released as I brought his mouth back up to mine. His tongue traced my lips before going in deeper. Suddenly, his hands grasped the back of my thighs and I hopped up to wrap them around his strong torso.
Our hot breathing increased as he slowly walked back to our bedroom. I planted small kisses on the eyebrow I saw with the scar and then even smaller ones across his warm cheek, almost kissing all of the pain and hurt away.
He lightly dropped me on top of the soft bed. His body pressed against mine. He kissed me intimately and I responded by slowly opening my mouth, letting our tongues dance with one another. His heavy breath coated my neck as I fumbled with the button of his jeans. His hands placed themselves as he looked into my eyes.
“I-I love you,” I whispered, hoping he heard me confess what I had been holding back for quite some time. His fingers laced mine and brought them up to my cheek. His hot hand wiped away the rest of my salty tears.
“I love you, too. But we have to do this. Not now,” he used his free hand to comb back the strands of hair covering my face.
I studied his eyes in wonder. Did he not want me? No that couldn’t be true, he just told me he loved me. “Why not? I want you, all of you…”
“And I want you more than I can tell you. But you aren’t ready,-”
“I am too,” I slightly pouted.
“No you aren’t. At least not now. Soon,” His fingers squeezed mine and he embedded a kiss against my cheek before withdrawing from me.
"Apollo," I asked almost silently.
"What happened to Aison?"
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